PLYMOUTH - The recent Board of Education meeting was the occasion for an emotional farewell to Terryville High School Assistant Principal Amy Radke, who is retiring at the end of the month after more than 30 years with the district.
“I’ve known Amy a long time, since my kids were in elementary school, and she actually did a workshop for me for the PTA,” said Board Chair Melissa Johnson.
When Johnson’s children entered Terryville High School, she said she told Radke not to retire until they graduated.
“We almost made it, almost halfway through,” Johnson said. “I’d like to thank you for all your years in service. I’ve gotten to know you in a different way than most parents have so I appreciate all the work you’ve done for me.”
“For the past four years I have had the honor to know you in so many roles,” Board Secretary Roxanne McCann told Radke. “I’ve been the mom at parent teacher conferences, the mom at sporting events, and the mom of a graduate, and a BOE member. The list goes on, but during it all you were always smiling, always encouraging and always supportive.”
McCann said she admired Radke’s dedication to the students, challenging and mentoring them. She said she asked some current and former students for a few words to describe the assistant principal.
“The words that came to mind were ‘available,’ ‘funny,’ ‘friendly,’ ‘willing to help students with whatever they need,’ ‘always smiling,’ and the two that I got a chuckle from - ‘pushy’ and ‘bossy,’” McCann said.
She summed up with a quote from the Dalai Lama: “‘just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into the water, the actions of individuals can have far reaching effects.’ Thank you Amy, for being the pebble in our district.”
The board’s three student representatives also paid tribute to their departing assistant principal.
“I personally have had so many positive experiences with her and I know that the students in Terryville High School have felt the same impact,” said Nora Samih. “I know how high school students can be a pain sometimes but we know that everyone loves her and appreciates all the work she’s done for the school.”
Ryleigh Dring thanked “Ms. Radke for always pushing us to do our best and never giving up on us. I know that a lot of us would not be where we are now if it wasn’t for you.”
“She is the ultimate anchor of our school,” Amy Ieronimo said. “Without her it wouldn’t be as stable as it is. She keeps everybody in check and makes sure that everything is going great and she is definitely going to be greatly missed at our school.”
Radke thanked the gathering as she was presented with a plaque. “Such kind words from you guys, I’ll remember them for the rest of my life,” she said.
“I know it wasn’t so much you guys that hired me,” she told the board members. “But you are representatives of the people who did and I so appreciate it. This isn’t just a job, it’s been my family. As my family knows, I spend a lot of time here.”
“I really appreciate all the kindness and support that I’ve been given and the opportunity to work here. If there’s anything I can tell kids it’s really love what you do, and I do love what I do,” she said. “I’ll be crying my way out of the building on the 28th, but it’s time for me to go and time to let somebody else fill my shoes.”
Radke grew up in town as Amy Sarojak and was a special education teacher in the local schools for 24 years, before becoming an administrator about nine years ago. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who taught elementary school in town for almost 33 years, as Barbara Kaminski and later under her married name Barbara Sarojak.
Her replacement will be Darron Vigliotti, who starts at THS on Feb. 27.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.